Ilja Dragunov and Noam Dar Brawled
The segment started off with Sid Scala welcoming viewers back to NXT UK before being interrupted by Dragunov, who said he's been waiting for a fight these past six months while "isolated." That brought out Dar and the two brawled to set up the night's main event. They kept things short and sweet as this segment accomplished exactly what it needed to. By the way, the new intro video for the show looks great and so does the closed set they're currently taping at.
NXT UK Tag Team Champions Gallus (Wolfgang and Mark Coffey) def. Kenny Williams and Amir Jordan (Non-Title)
Gallus have always been a pretty good albeit boring team at times. I didn't understand why they successfully retained the titles at TakeOver: Blackpool II back in January and I still hope they drop the titles sooner rather than later because their reign has been uneventful (and not just because of the pandemic). This was a well-worked match, but aside from the babyfaces getting in a fun flurry of offense down the stretch, it largely dragged and not having a crowd there for them to feed off of didn't help. NXT UK's loaded tag team division surrounded the ring afterward, including Imperium's Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner (although they were shown on the screen and weren't there in person).
Piper Niven Confronted NXT UK Women's Champion Kay Lee Ray
Because of the current circumstances, Ray has been champion for over a year now, which is crazy to think about. However, that reign could very well be ending next week when she defends against Niven. The match has been a long time in the making as it seemed like they were setting that up before the pandemic hit earlier his year. This segment successfully hyped up their upcoming championship clash. I liked that they didn't get physical at all here so viewers will want to see Niven get her hands on Ray next week.
Aoife Valkyrie def. Isla Dawn
Valkyrie was on a roll and building steam before the shutdown, so I'm glad NXT UK is wasting no time in getting her back on track. This win was a nice momentum boost for her, even if the match itself was fine. I've made it quite clear in the past that I'm no fan of Dawn as I find her to be mediocre, but she and Valkyrie put together a decent bout that had the right result.
Ilja Dragunov def. Noam Dar
Dragunov is such an explosive athlete that he can have an exciting match with just about anyone and Dar is no exception. Both of these guys are great and brought the best out of each other here with a thrilling main event that was easily the best bout of the night. Dar gave him a hell of a fight, but Dragunov's resilience and intensity were too much to overcome. Alexander Wolfe attempting to interfere and cost Dragunov the victory was a nice touch given their history, while Dragunov's post-match staredown with WALTER was a fitting way to close the show.
I didn't mention it above, but the Heritage Cup tournament that will be taking place over the next several should has the potential to be a blast based on who's been announced so far. At any rate, much like Ring of Honor, which also returned earlier this week, it's so good to have NXT UK back after over six months of no original content. What sucks is that the brand was building real momentum coming out of that TakeOver special in January and was primed to have another excellent event in Dublin in April. There was no word on this show as to when that delayed TakeOver is going to take place, as this was all about the relaunch and I totally understand that. It was an enjoyable episode and I'm glad they took this opportunity to switch things up with the graphics, the show's theme song and the overall feel of NXT UK. Obviously, the lack of a live crowd was noticeable and it wasn't a must-see show by any means, but it was a solid start as NXT UK looks to reset the deck a bit and get things rolling again.